RAJINDER SINGH (1932-1995), or Qaumi Ektd (both had become synonymous), was born on 9 October 1932 at Mandi Bahauddin. Qaumi Ektd and its editor Sardar Rajinder Singh were two reflections of one single reality. One could not be dissected from the other. Nor was it possible to analyse or evaluate them separately. Both had become part of one indivisible reality. If one was mentioned in a particular context the other name got repeated inevitably in the next. At a very young age Rajinder Singh had made his name widely known.
In Punjabi letters and journalism, none dared interrupt him in his march forward. Nor did he own to any difficulty or obstacle. The niche Rajinder Singh had carved out for himself in Punjabi journalism at an unbelievably young age was indeed unprecedented. Gurbakhsh Singh of the Preet Lan had imparted to Punjabi writing a fresh flavour. He was the originator of a new style. With him were born many a new construction and idiom. Likewise, Rajinder Singh was the monarch of many styles. Whatever came to his pen he recorded fearlessly and unhesitatingly. There was much newness and originality in it.
On Punjabi he bestowed a completely new style of political writing. He bottled into it the bitterness of neem leaves; also, the sweetness of elixir. This unexpected mixture of moods conferred upon Punjabi writing a new power and energy. Cheek byjowl with his soft words lay his swordcuts. The many splendoured strokes which came o Punjabi via Rajinder Singh `s pen had a “atherh`ke quality mixed with his lethal irusts. The language received from no other writer this manner of variety. He made the aximum use of his literary powers and drew ? last ounce of energy from these.
He did t have the slightest difficulty in switching or from one mood to the other. This eJas(y and freshness of colour were Rajinder ?h`s permanent assets. Rajinder Singh had been an avid reader icwspapers from the very outset. He was a schoolgoing youth when he diligently t through all the Punjabi and Urdu newsers that came to his small town of Mandi auddin. Then came partition of the coun Rajinder Singh developed an entirely new orest. That was in meeting and be friend important personalities of the day. He soon able to make friends with India`s ne minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. He was at master in cultivating men in high places.
was very knowledgeable about local pols and he was a fetching conversationalist. never went to meet anyone without reirsing his words. He never failed to win trust of others. Jawaharlal Nehru became iccially enamoured of him. Like him he > able to win the implicit trust of Partap gh Kairori, Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir i Giani Kartar Singh. All of them admired sharpness of mind and gave him their lest confidence. With some of them he ked almost on equal terms. He could cut .es with them. He felt inferior talking to one. His confidence in himself was lazing. In the company of Jawaharlal Nehru felt on very easy terms and this relationship continued through at least three nerations.
After Jawaharlal Nehru it was > daughter, Indira Gandhi, and then his andson, Rajiv. Once he was coming to tiala but was summoned by Rajiv before he ached Patiala. In his characteristically infprmal manner he said to Rajiv that her was looking so handsome that day that had he been a girl he would have adbucted her to a place beyond the reach of everyone. he was very fearless and outspoken. Fear he did not know. He could be on simiIarly familiar terms with his other friends. Among them could be counted Harinder Singh of RaJa SarisI, Harcharan Singh Ajnala, Narain Singh Shahbazpuri, Mubarak Singh and Iqbal Singh Sandharivalla.
Their endless barrage of witticisms was always a source of great delight for the listeners. But never was a single harsh or uncivil word uttered by anyone. Rajinder Singh broke into journalism when he was a mere boy in his teens. He had no literary experience. Nor any familiarity with the technique. Yet, he launched forth undaunted. He had one or two issues of the paper written by proxy. But he was not happy with what he saw. Then he went ahead on his own. The results were dramatic. The first issue that came out proved a tremendous hit. The layout and presentation were most attractive. The writing was punchy. The editor and the paper became famous overnight.
The weekly became the talk of the town. There was but one question, one and only one question on the lips of the readers. “Have you seen the Qaumi Ektd of this week?” “Did you read this week`s Qaumi Ektd?`”This was the query on all lips. In those days the paper was a weekly publication. Turning the weekly paper into a monthly was a major decision for the editor to make. He discussed the question with several of his friends. He took his friendsto the choicest hotels. He was a very good host and loved to entertain friends. As a monthly paper the Qaumi Ektd established its credentials still more firmly.
Its special numbers were got up with taste. They won wide renown. Several of the well known writers had made a custom of keeping them on their files. Numbers such as those on Sikh Maharajas and Sikh Music were expertly made up. They will count as most significant contributions to Punjabi letters. Likewise, Rajinder Singh`s special number brought out in memory of Sardar Partap Singh Kairon was a historic issue. Whatever Rajinder Singh touched with his pen, turned into gold. He gave it a new form and new look. He established the tone of Punjabi idiom and imparted to it a new form and polish. Rajinder Singh died in Delhi on 1 September 1995. S.S.B.
1. Muharak Singh, Kairon. Ludhiana, 1963
2. Sabar, Teja Singh, Punjabi Patvante. Delhi, n.d.